Pregnancy is a very special time for prospective parents and their families. However, it is also a time for an expectant mother to be extremely careful, as any external changes can have an effect on the baby growing inside her womb.
This is especially true during the first trimester when chances of miscarriage are particularly high. However, sometimes you may develop the signs of miscarriage but not actually be miscarrying. This is known as a threatened miscarriage.
What is a Threatened Miscarriage
During the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, between 20% and 30% of women display signs of a miscarriage, like vaginal bleeding or spotting. Yet, upon further examination by a doctor, everything seems fine with the baby. This condition is known as threatened miscarriage or, in medical terms, threatened abortion and indicates that there is a chance that a pregnancy may end in miscarriage.
The common signs of a threatened miscarriage are:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Bloodstains or discharge
- Occasionally abdominal cramps, period pains or backaches
It is important to note that most pregnant women experience some kind of discomfort, backache or abdominal pain during the initial stages of pregnancy. This does not mean that you are showing any signs of miscarriage, though.
These are normal pregnancy symptoms. If these symptoms are accompanied by some vaginal bleeding, however, then you should consider contacting your doctor.
As the name suggests, a threatened miscarriage does not necessarily mean that your pregnancy will end in pregnancy loss. Many women experience some vaginal bleeding during the first trimester and go on to deliver normally.
There are also women who have experienced the symptoms of a threatened miscarriage, but with proper care, have completed their pregnancies.
If your cervix remains closed during a threatened miscarriage, the chances of foetal survival are higher than if the cervix is opened.
Statistically, about 30% of threatened miscarriages end in pregnancy loss while the remaining 70% result in a live birth.
What is the Cause?
Unfortunately, the precise cause of a threatened miscarriage is rarely discovered. However, there can be various reasons for vaginal bleeding that may not even be related to miscarriage, including:
- infection, such as STDs and pelvic inflammatory disease
- hormonal changes
- cervical inflammation caused by intercourse
- cysts or uterine fibroids